Stoutly bred filly Dulverton will kick off a Queensland Oaks campaign when she resumes in the $80,000 JRA Handicap (1440m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Dulverton will be having her first start since running fifth to Jameka in the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival and trainer Robert Smerdon is keen to get her to Queensland to give her another chance at winning an Oaks.
The Caulfield trainer has earmarked the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 4 as the Commands filly’s main Brisbane Winter Carnival goal.
“Her ultimate aim will be the Queensland Oaks,” Smerdon said on Racing Ahead on RSN 927.
“If we were to get rain up there which you can do, that would help her, she is terrific in soft ground.”
“Dulverton is a filly that’s going to come into her own as the races get a bit longer.”
Dulverton is a winner of one of her five race starts and progressed to the Crown Oaks in her first preparation after winning her Maiden over 1600m at Hamilton in late September last year.
“She did that all on her first preparation and it does seem on face value that she has seemed to have improved off a break coming into this,” Smerdon said.
Ryan Maloney takes the mount on Dulverton who has drawn barrier eight in the original twelve horse field plus four emergencies and could come in two places if the first two reserves who have drawn inside of her fail to gain a start.
Smerdon has given Dulverton one barrier trial in preparation for her return and he was happy with her fifth placing over 1190m at Cranbourne on April 11.
“She trialled really well at Cranbourne last week so she seems to have come back and she’s better this time around than last time,” Smerdon said.
Smerdon could have three runners in the JRA Handicap and as well as Dulverton will saddle up Indarra and possibly first emergency Zafiki.
From three well beaten runs this campaign Indarra has failed to regain her good Spring Carnival form that saw her win the Listed $120,000 City Of Greater Dandenong Stakes (1400m) at Sandown but Smerdon is expecting an improved effort after the filly won a 1190m barrier trial at Cranbourne on April 11.
“She trialled well at Cranbourne last week I thought and she has worked well since so she is capable of improving, but the barrier gods have done her no favours,” Smerdon said.
Mark Zahra rides Indarra who has drawn barrier sixteen in the original draw and will jump from the outside gate when the field is reduced to twelve at scratching time on Saturday morning.
Indarra at $20 and Dulverton at $31 are both listed as outsiders in the JRA Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au while Zafiki is also at long odds at $21.
The Robbie Griffiths trained Deja Blue heads the market order at $4 ahead of Darren Weir’s unbeaten filly Lyuba at $5, Backstreet Lover at $6.50, Abbey Marie at $9 and the early market mover Francais at $9.50.